Omani Marble & Jotun Support PEIE’s Smart Manufacturing
Muscat: According to Hamad Al Harthy, Director General, Rusayl Industrial Estate: "It'll be standing room only at PEIE's annual Smart Manufacturing Conference 15 – 16 April, Crowne Plaza Hotel (http://www.peie.om/smartman.asp). The event has attracted substantial local and international support and the recent signing of MoUs with Jotun and Omani Marble Company demonstrates the relevance and importance of this annual event to Oman's manufacturing sector.
"We're honoured to be part of PEIE’s Smart Manufacturing conference. By organizing events like this we can raise the profile of Oman's manufacturing sector both at home and overseas. In addition to that, it's an excellent marketing opportunity for Omani Marble Company. We're excited about our involvement."
"With 67 companies and 39 production facilities on five continents, Jotun is exactly the type of multi-national supporter PEIE is looking to attract to Smart Manufacturing," said Al Harthy. "We've long recognized the powerful and increasing contribution that PEIE makes to the competitiveness of Oman's manufacturing sector and events such as Smart Manufacturing add real value to the domestic manufacturing scene. Jotun takes very seriously its role in contributing to Oman’s development and we're delighted to be involved in this important national manufacturing initiative," remarked Mr. Vijay Kumar, MD, Jotun.
Presentations from organizations like Amouage, Agility, Ericsson, Oracle, Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting, Zubair Corporation, Cambridge University, Reem Batteries, KPMG, National Bank of Oman and Sohar Aluminium will offer Smart Manufacturing attendees an opportunity to explore design, technology, training, finance, legal and strategic issues pertinent to today's manufacturing sector. Indeed, the design panel on day 1 which will consist of Anwar Al Asmi, RealityCG; Chris Ward-Brown, East Midlands Development Agency; Clewes Everard, Zubair Corporation; David Crickmore, Amouage; and Colum Lowe from the UK's NHS, National Patient Safety Agency is expected to be a very popular session. Indeed, many in manufacturing understand the mantra ‘innovate or die’ and the Rusayl Director General suggests how companies can encourage the creative juices to flow. “Innovation has to start at the top. There must be tangible outcomes with a strict link between theory and practice. Innovative manufacturers have to be open-minded, even if some of the design suggestions seem to be totally unconnected with the business. A design-led manufacturer should be open to making new connections and relationships. Look at how other companies innovate and you’ll make creative leaps.”
Faced with rising costs and competition, the only way to increase profit is to innovate and this is where design plays an important role, says Ibtisam Al Faruji, PEIE's Head of Marketing. “Manufacturers need to understand their customers and the market requirements.” This doesn’t just mean doing market research, as it’s historical by nature. She suggests using forecasting tools like video ethnography - interviewing small groups of customers on a one-on-one basis about your products and videoing the process for qualitative depth. She recommends using multi-disciplinary groups to assess new concepts. Employees should also swap jobs to spur new ideas. “The creative process must be inclusive. For example, your Sales and Marketing team often have a deep knowledge of problems out in the field, which can have a bearing on your approach to new product design and development. These are the type of issues that the design panel will explore at Smart Manufacturing.”
Sultan al Habsi, CEO, PEIE believes there’s a strong correlation between success and design. “Design helps manufacturers iterate and test new products very quickly. The whole point of the design process is to fail often in order to arrive at a successful solution. In today's business environment and with Oman-based manufacturers facing strong competition from the Far East, they've got to try to design something that distinguishes their products from lower priced alternatives."